Eight months ago, Teresa had been engaged to a promising young doctor. But all of that dramatically changed when Albert had invited her to a circus outside of town.
Some called it foolish, but she preferred kismet as she remembered the twinkle and wink in the eye of the handsome Jack - the flying young man on the trapeze, who had gazed down upon her that night in the crowd.
Her heart had been stolen and she had been swept off her feet by the daring man awash in the limelight, suspended in the air, hanging by his nose in leotards.
A week later, they had eloped and now, upside down and two stories above the ground, swinging to-and-fro with knees curled around a small metal bar, she wondered what in the world she was doing there.
Below, she saw other women throwing flowers upon the stage just as she had done for the very man who hung gallantly from another trapeze across from her.
He wore a smile below his black moustache and his well-muscled arms were extended, waiting to grab her after she cast out and tricked back, releasing her grasp to be caught.
She curled her body to grab her trapeze with her hands and unfurled her body in a backwards summersault to at last hang full-length above the circus floor.
Arching her body to build momentum into the swing; gravity pulled her down and then released her from its cradle.
She flew higher than she would ever have flown and muttered such to the daring young man who watched safely from his perch and waited with ease her performance.
He had insisted no net, and she had trusted him. “It would be frivolous and lessen the drama” he had assured her with a kiss.
Believing him, she now looked down into the crowd and spied her ex-fiancé. Her mouth became a perfect circle. Albert, she wanted to cry out. Oh, what have I done?
Her golden leotard sparkled and glimmered in the limelight and the crowd below oohed and awed. She smiled brightly, nodded to one-and-all and noticed for the firt time her name beneath Jack’s in red letters on the banner over the door.
Her hands felt slightly moist and she wondered if she had chalked them on the pedestal board just moments before.
She was now at the apogee of the second arc; time to release, let go and reach out. But she couldn’t. She gave a secret signal to her handsome Jack letting him know that she would be making an additional swing; and Jack had nodded back, smiling all the while.
She felt faint, her heart pounded, and sweat began to glisten on her brow. Her eyes found Albert’s still watching her.
And then, as only a woman could do under such circumstances, she noticed a woman in an expensive, blue-feathered hat next to him. Her arm was entwined with his, the other pointing to her handsome Jack.
Also, and not quite coquettishly, she also couldn’t escape, even from two stories high, and swinging on a trapeze, the very large and equally brilliant diamond ring on the woman’s left hand.
The woman in the blue hat shared something in Albert’s ear and together they laughed; and he turned his eyes from her as she swung to-and-fro and then kissed the blue-haberdashed, diamond-ringed woman on her blushing cheek.
Back to the apogee of her swinging arc, she cast out once again and finally released her grasp from the bar. She reached out to her daring leotarded darling, only to catch him winking at a fair damsel who was twitteling back at him from far below.
His grasped had been purloined by the wink and nod of another entranced, as she had been entranced, by his movements and grace eight months ago.
She slipped through his hands and flew through the air at a speed far faster than she would ever have known had she not met this dashing young man on the flying trapeze and left her promising Albert.
She sped to the ground in her glittering gold leotard, awash in the limelight, past the red banner bearing her name beneath the name of the one who had stolen her heart.
She sped past the applauding, appreciative crowd toward the flowers strewn not to her, but to her handsome well-built Jack.
She landed with quite a splat, her last act to perform all for a love that had been foolishly purloined.
Very loosely based on the 1867 song, by George Leybourne entitled "The Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze”
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